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RivkaE

Protracted withdrawal -- role of past abuse and trauma

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RivkaE

I am new to this site and and am seeking others' experiences and observations.

 

I just had a private conversation with a member (we then agreed to keep ourselves to the site to help educate others).  She revealed to me she had been abused in her past.  I am opening up this topic because I had been too, and see this experience (childhood physical abuse) as the root cause of my major depressive disorder and PTSD.  I went on meds (far too many, of course -- why I am here) because I have had these "disorders" (whatever you wish to call them) since childhood. 

 

I am wondering what role my early history of abuse has played in my protracted withdrawal (disautonomia).   Basically, I am trying to understand the quandary of how and why I got on so many meds in the first place.  I am wondering whether there are some "markers" that may indicate why some people can successfully be on meds (or just one) for a limited time, while others of us are not as responsive and therefore go on more and more with the result that many of us are now experiencing.

 

To be more clear -- I clearly have had more than my share of trauma, which in itself has negatively affected my autonomic nervous system.   I was depressed episodically for many years before I ever went on meds.   This site seems to focus on what happens once we take them.  However, why did many of us go on them in the first place, and why were we treatment resistant to the point where we were overmedicated?

 

Yes, the drug industry and psychiatric "community" promote and practice overmedication and have an "additive" philosophy.  However, I am trying to reach inside myself and to others to see why we here might have been far less able to respond to single medications at relatively low doses.  What role does early trauma play in "treatment resistant depression?"

 

As noted in my history, I was recovering well from Parkinsonism (NOT Parkinsons -- some people have misinterpreted this in an earlier post) I had just the symptoms without the disease -- all disappeared when I went off six meds cold turkey bwecause of severe allergic reactions).   Yet, after six months my autonomic nervous system is even more out of control.  I was doing so well until six weeks ago, and now have a plethora of new symptoms -- profound insomnia, excessive thirst, neuropathies, as well as persistent, severe GERD (had this since I withdrew), and new severe depression.

 

Am I unusually susceptible to all this because of the life-long stresses on my autonomic nervous system?  Scarier still: am I less likely to recover?  (I turned 61 yesterday -- I did have a lovely birthday, and an excruciating night -- exerted myself too much I think).

 

So chicken and egg  -- do (did) many of us here have a history of trauma/abuse that led us to overmedication and/or real difficulty in withdrawal?

 

Thanks so much everyone.

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Petunia

I think trauma, in part is often an underlying cause of most of what gets diagnosed as mental illness. Then add to that genetic factors and subsequent life stress, which is often not even recognized.

 

To me it seems clear, if you don't recognize and treat/cure the real underlying problem (unresolved trauma), then its still going to be there, possibly getting worse depending on environment and changing circumstances.

 

Psychiatric drugs, while possibly providing some initial 'relief', by helping to suppress difficult emotions and block thought processes, don't cure anything and in many cases, cause more harm long term for various reasons.

 

Perhaps the reason they don't 'work' so well for some people is related to combinations of factors unique to each individual. I think an equally interesting question is why they appear to work well for so many people when they are no longer fixing biological chemical imbalances...what are they really doing?

 

My theory, which probably belongs in the finding meaning section, is that evolution knocks louder for some people than it does for others. Our body/mind/soul has a drive to heal and evolve into its greatest potential. Our 'negative' emotions are like warning signals telling us that something needs our attention. Drugs can block out these valuable messages, but maybe some people have brighter warning lights or more determined souls. Sometimes our soul and ego are in conflict about what our highest potential actually is.

 

In my own case I was in an emotionally abusive marriage which was mirroring the patterns of my childhood. I felt it, and it was excruciating, but I didn't recognize it. Actually, I was starting to recognize it and it terrified me, at that point, staying in denial seemed easier. Zoloft took the edge off and made it easier to ignore my own truth for a bit longer. I don't completely regret my drugged years because it made it possible for me to stay in the marriage and preserve a stable home life for our daughter while she was still young. Zoloft and then Lexapro muffled my own screaming reality somewhat.

 

It also makes sense to me that if a person was taking drugs for a long time and they were helping to suppress emotions related to past unresolved trauma, and/or ongoing trauma, once the drugs are stopped, those emotions are going to flood the body once again, along with any withdrawal symptoms.

 

Here are some related discussion topics we already have:

 

(Long past)traumatization might seriously exacerbate your complaints

 

For those who consider trauma as part of the protracted ...

 

New Research Reveals the Real Causes of Depression ...

 

Looking for theories on the cause of depression - Symptoms ...

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RivkaE

Petunia,

 

Like all of your posts, this is a very thoughtful response, and the one my therapist adheres too.  

 

Yet I still have questions about whether antidepressants merely "muffled" trauma, or brought brain chemistry into greater "balance" (at least until they no longer worked for me).   I also know it is impossible to parse this questions with the information we have -- which centers on no one really knows how ADs "work."  Yet I feel my autonomic nervous system took a beating too (so to speak) all through my childhood, and perhaps this has contributed to my symptoms now that I am in withdrawal.  I am afraid that these problems are permanent.

 

Thank you for the links.

 

It is interesting as far as "muffling" goes, my emotions have never been more muted than they are now (off all ADs since November).  Can't cry -- very little joy or sorrow.   Can't really feel that my son is moving across the country this week.   Neurological symptoms so high at this time.   Very difficult to understand.

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LoveandLight

rivkae..in withdrawal I also experience the muffling of emotions..it's so hard to get my head around..so would think once you stop then your emotions would come back, but this is a WD symptom too.

 

Xx

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RivkaE

Hi love and light.

 

I am now off all AD's since November and the muffling began in March.   I am hoping this is another phase of withdrawal.  I was profoundly depressed again when this began  -- but I am now feeling a bit better.  I did let out my first guffaw yesterday -- but still, no tears. 

 

Thank you for writing!

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LoveandLight

I'm glad your a bit better!

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